I would like to offer sincere congratulations to all of the students entering the University, as well as to their families and supporters. I would also like to extend our thanks to all guests joining us today. It is my hope that all of you new students will use the facilities of this University to the fullest to improve yourselves and grow as individuals.
Of the women's universities established by the government of Japan, Ochanomizu University is the richest in tradition. The predecessor of the University was Tokyo Women's Normal School, established in 1875. Subsequently, through changes of name up to Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School, the institute finally came under a new system of education as Ochanomizu University in 1949. Next year will mark the 140th year since our founding.
The University originally had its buildings in Yushima (Ochanomizu) at the time of founding and was called Ochanomizu School, a name which lives on in Ochanomizu University. Those original school buildings were destroyed by fire in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, a major reason for our current location in Otsuka. Nine years after the earthquake, in 1932, the University moved to this site, and these buildings and the attached kindergarten were constructed. The Main Building, along with the attached kindergarten and the main gate, is registered as one of the Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan. The outer surface of the building is covered with scratched-face tile and the entranceway is inlaid with marble. These are said to have been made from the highest-grade materials available, and are an expression of the expectations held by society at the time for the education of this University.
When application for establishment of Ochanomizu University as a national university under the new system was put forth, the documents submitted to the Ministry of Education contained these words:
(Concerning the Nature of Tokyo National Women's University)
What our country most lacks and most desires is the nurturing of women in all fields who stand in positions of leadership. The mission of the University is to nurture those women. (Paragraph 8)
As the level of culture progresses, it becomes difficult to find leaders from among those who have acquired only general education, and it is evident that such education requires a backing of specialized research. (Paragraph 9)
In other words, the text asserts that the nurturing of female leaders is a necessity and that people who stand in leadership positions must possess not only education, but at the same time specialization, a statement that is true even now and remains the mission of this University.
Now, more than ever, society has expectations for an active role played by women. It is my wish that at this University, all of you new students will acquire a sound capability to meet these demands of society. Toward that end, Ochanomizu University has prepared unique systems of education: specifically, liberal arts education, global education, and leadership education.
The purpose of liberal arts education is the acquisition of methods for multifaceted investigation, for the purpose of having awareness of and resolving social issues. We have named this "21st Century Liberal Arts Education Integrating Humanities and Sciences." In global education, we were selected two years ago as an institute to implement the Project for Promotion of Global Human Resource Development of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and subsequently strengthened our programs. At present only four national universities are introducing this program on a campus-wide scale. This University, taking into account convenience for students' studies overseas, has acted ahead of the other universities in introducing a quarterly system from this academic year.
Over the past five years, the number of overseas universities with which we have agreements has doubled from 30 to 60. With such an environment, I hope that all of you will actively take advantage of this opportunity. Yet as a matter of course, global education does not make studying overseas in itself the main purpose. Rather, I believe the purpose of global education lies in experiencing and understanding diversity in cultures, diversity in thought, and diversity in values.
Ochanomizu University has begun supporting girls' education in developing countries, beginning with support in Afghanistan from 2002. Beyond simply offering support, the intent is for students, academics, and administrative staff to learn about other cultures and, by doing so, to grow. I believe that having an awareness that we exist together with people in a variety of environments is a part of a global perspective. It is also an important standpoint in leadership education. I see leadership as taking the presence of others into consideration and exerting one's own power to take charge and effectively mobilize an organization. It should not simply mean forcing others to follow. What is important in leadership is having one's own will and the ability to exercise appropriate judgment; what forms the foundation for doing so is specialization and sound knowledge.
Part of the foundation for our liberal arts education, global education, and leadership education, and the chief characteristic of the specialized education in Ochanomizu University's faculties, is the Multiple Program Elective Course System. This is an educational system by which students learn proactively and improve their capacity to employ appropriate judgment. This sort of educational system has become feasible for the University due to its scale and due to an environment in which experts in different fields can interact on a daily basis. It is further made possible by the presence of excellent students.
There are said to be three types of education. (Karl Jaspers, "What is Education?")
The first is education that transmits knowledge, the second is education in the form of reverence toward admired people and obedience toward authority, and the third is education by which the proactive, inquisitive minds of students mingle and collaborate with the knowledge of teachers. This third type is the sort of education that should take place in universities. However, it has a major prerequisite: the presence of excellent students with the desire for proactive learning. Taking these points into consideration, it seems to me that such education is possible only at this University.
To all students, my hope is that you broaden your outlook, acquire high-level specialized knowledge, and, above all, develop a proactive stance in your thinking. Your studies through high school have been education for the purpose of obtaining correct answers to questions. However, at this University, students are in a position of learning to not only to find answers but also to proactively pose questions themselves and then test a number of answers. The key to this is abundant knowledge, as well as courage. The expression "Sapere aude!" translated as "Have the courage to know," was interpreted by the German philosopher Kant as "Have the courage to use your own intellect." (Kant, "What is Enlightenment?")
Those who cannot exercise judgment without depending on others are in a state of immaturity, and lack the courage to employ their own intellect. As such, it is important to "have the courage to use your own intellect" and escape that state of immaturity. University education can be viewed in this way. A university education means learning proactively and acquiring the ability to exercise appropriate judgment – in other words, growing into an "intellectual adult." It is the gaining of ability to exercise judgment on your own, rather than relying on the judgment of others.
The auditorium in which we are today is named Kiindo Auditorium. The name combines characters meaning "sign" and "sound," and is said to incorporate the meanings including "beautiful sound," "beautiful voice," and "excellent teaching." In short, this space could be called a "symbol of excellent intellect." Entrance ceremonies, graduation ceremonies, and other functions of importance to Ochanomizu University are held in this auditorium. Through the entrance ceremony we will hold now, you will all begin your lives as university students. It is my expectation that four years from now, you will have become adults intellectually, will have acquired a broad outlook and the power to exercise appropriate judgment, and will be able to take sure steps toward your next stage.
I extend my congratulations to all 515 new students entering the University today, and wish you all a full and fruitful student life.
April 4, 2014
President, Ochanomizu University
Ochanomizu University Homepage Steering Committee
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